* The 2019 budget implementation bill is preventing thousands of autistic kids from getting therapy. Here’s Megan Valley and Raymon Troncoso from the Belleville News-Democrat…
(D)espite a 2014 federal mandate that states cover autism treatment through Medicaid, Illinois was one of a handful of states that didn’t provide Medicaid coverage for behavioral therapy until 2019.
However, an error in implementation created restrictions on who could provide behavioral therapy, an obstacle that has functionally prevented Illinois’ Medicaid plan from covering behavioral therapy despite it technically being included in Medicaid spending on paper. […]
A notice from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services released in October confirmed that dual credentials would be required to receive Medicaid funds through the department for behavioral therapy.
But the Illinois Autism Task Force, based in the Illinois Department of Human Services, warned in a February letter to Gov. JB Pritzker and the General Assembly that “the dual credential requirement will result in devastating barriers to access.” That same letter said only 26 BCBAs possessed one of the other required certifications and it was unclear whether any of the 26 provided behavioral therapy.
The Autism Task Force, in a 2020 meeting, claimed that $42 million placed in the state’s FY 2020 budget for behavioral therapy through Medicaid remained untouched due to the mistake.
Paul estimated there are about 3,500 ASD-diagnosed children under age 5 who are covered by Medicaid in Illinois.
The letter is here.